This summer NBC Sports and PLL cameras brought us onto the sideline, within the huddle, and under players’ helmets. We didn’t have to wait until a game ended to find out what players were thinking about a certain moment. Analyst Ryan Boyle could just ask them.
For an even more unvarnished glimpse at what took place between the lines, you had the Mic’d Up videos. They immediately became a must watch every week. The soundbites were such a staple of the PLL experience, they even spawned their own Twitter account.
But since you probably already know this, let’s take a look at the Mic’d Up moments that defined the 2019 season.
Archers Find Their Calm Against Chrome
Before overtime against Chrome during Week 1 at Gillette Stadium, emotions were running high. But when cameras zoomed in on Archers LSM Scott Ratliff, he wasn’t delivering one of his typically stirring speeches. Instead, he was silent. Along with the rest of the club, he took a deep breath.
“Let’s take one more together,” Marcus Holman instructed. “Inhale...exhale. Not worried about the outcome, let’s just play here. Play the game, baby.”
Will Manny allowed the Archers to breathe a sigh of relief. He found the back of the net on a snipe from the left wing to secure the first win in PLL history.
Coach Towers Sets the Tone
Chaos Head Coach Andy Towers is a walking soundbite. His flair on the sidelines and passion during timeouts was a draw the entire season.
“When the game starts, I kind of forget about it,” Towers told me before the playoffs about the cameras in the huddle. “I’m focused on just trying to make each timeout meaningful. We don't have enough time to waste a moment.”
Before their Week 1 matchup against Whipsnakes, Towers imparted to his club the type of attitude he wanted them to exude.
“Swagger and arrogance, that’s what we want,” he said.
His club listened. Despite falling to Whipsnakes in OT, Chaos strung together two win streaks of three or more games and they looked like they had fun doing it. Whether it was Connor Fields making people famous or Jarrod Neumann pulling up from deep, Chaos did not lack confidence and earned themselves the top playoff seed.
Jarrod Neumann’s Two-Bomb Taunts
Jarrod Neumann has range. He’s not afraid to let you know it.
“You should have slid again!” he screamed at Redwoods defenseman Eddy Glazener after scoring his fifth 2-point goal of the season with 5:53 remaining in the fourth quarter in San Jose. The third 2-bomb of the game by Chaos helped push them past Redwoods 13-10 during Week 8.
But if you only watch the soundbite, you don’t see Neumann’s ability to catch a half-field pass from Jack Rowlett off the bounce. You can’t appreciate the awareness to realize attackman Jules Heningburg stopped at the midline, providing a free lane to let Neumann fire from a few steps behind the arc.
“As soon as I hit 20, I think I’m in range,” Neumann told Ryan Boyle after the goal. “I saw Jules stop. I heard his feet stop in transition. I said I missed two today, that’s unlikely. It’s time to let one go.”
Jake Bernhardt Claps Back
The Whipsnakes midfielder seems to feed off slights. Whether he’s calling out the “haters” on Twitter, telling his opponent to “send your paycheck to me,” or dismissing those who doubt his club, “the best two-way player in the world” harnesses the negativity as motivation.
After Mike Chanenchuk scored his second 2-bomb against Chaos during Round 1 of the playoffs (his ninth of the season), Bernhardt didn’t mince words about Chaos and their Bomb Squad that earned praise throughout the summer for their proficiency from behind the arc.
“The guy is leading the league, give him a sticker,” Bernhardt said, a clear shot at Myles Jones, who wondered aloud where his Bomb Squad emblem was after he scored his first 2-point goal in Week 8.
Bernhardt and the Whipsnakes soundly defeated Chaos 15-7 and punched their ticket to the championship.
Chef Rambo fakes out this Atlas fan like most of his defenders. The MVP didn’t leave him empty handed though.
Connor Fields Lights It Up
Ryder Garnsey Backs Up His Talk
For all the incredible plays he made during his rookie season, Ryder Garnsey might have received as much acclaim for what he said during games.
When the Redwoods’ Twitter account asked “who would you guess chirps the most on the team,” Garnsey won in a landslide. He got 69 percent of the votes. The next closest teammate received 13.
Garnsey’s passion was on display when he was mic’d up against the Archers during Round 1 of the playoffs.
“You can’t guard me. You need to switch right now,” he scolded the Archers defense after he scored his second goal of the game. He finished with five points in the Redwoods’ 16-12 win.
“As far as the actual video, in the heat of the moment, whatever comes to my mind I say and deal with the consequences later I guess,” Garnsey told me before their Round 2 matchup against Chaos. “I've been on the other side of that play on the midline a thousand times and been the bug rather than the windshield. This time I got pretty lucky and Mark McNeill got the brunt of it somehow.”
Indeed. The video of Garnsey and McNeill’s collision (Garnsey was the only one who remained standing) has over two million views on TikTok.
Baptiste Shows What It’s All About
If Brendan Burke and Ryan Boyle ever need help in the booth, they don’t need to look far.
The Beast Puts It All On the Line
The veteran faced his share of obstacles throughout the season. He sustained a hamstring injury during the Redwoods’ Week 5 win over Whipsnakes. Although he willed himself through that matchup, he missed several games until he suited up for Week 9 in Hamilton. Then the Beast returned during the playoffs. He won 57.45% of his draws in the first two rounds and helped the Redwoods secure a spot in the championship.
“I trust every person in this huddle and I will die on this field for you today,” Gurenlian told his teammates before the opening whistle at Talen Energy Stadium.
After going 2 of 7 in the first half, Gurenlian won 11 of 16 faceoffs after halftime and kept alive the thrilling Redwoods comeback from being down 9-2 late in the third quarter. While he was bested by Joe Nardella on the opening draw in OT, no one could argue Gurenlian didn’t leave it all out on the field.
Whipsnakes Get The Final Word
Although we could have picked one of the many soundbites from Matt Rambo, the Championship MVP, their captain’s sentiments best captured the club’s outlook after Rambo scored the winning overtime goal to claim the inaugural PLL crown.
“We do all our talking on the field,” LSM Michael Ehrhardt said during the post-game celebration.
While it’s hard to be certain exactly what Ehrhardt was referencing (Landis Island perhaps?), his message was clear. The Shipsnakes proved they’re the class of the league. They’re PLL Champions.